White paper: Beyond the happy sheet

UK businesses invest significant sums in training and development every year (around £43bn in 20131 ). Yet despite the scale of these investments, recent research from the CIPD has highlighted a lack of robust and joined-up evaluation.

The CIPD’s Learning and Development 2015 Report points to organisations relying on the ‘happy sheet’ – where they simply ask training delegates what they thought about the training – rather than looking for the wider impact of training and development on business outcomes and performance.

According to the CIPD Policy Report 2015 – Productivity: Getting the Best out of People, around half of the employers surveyed see training and development and improving leadership and management capability as key ways of boosting productivity – which, despite high employment and a growing economy, is substantially lower in the UK than in the USA, France and Germany. What’s more, 55% of those surveyed said they plan to become more productive by using existing employees more efficiently, rather than by hiring new ones.

Seen in this context, it’s clear that knowing whether or not your training and development programmes are working is a critical business issue.

In this paper, we highlight the need for taking an evidence-based approach to this key activity, and present a model you may find useful when carrying out your own evaluation.